T-Mobile will be setting an example this season, with their extensive medical testing and other anti-doping measures. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes was at their launch in Majorca and heard what they had to say.
Fresh start, new beginning, clean approach and Die Mannschaft (teamwork); these words and themes featured heavily in the 2007 T-Mobile team launch, which took place Saturday afternoon on the Spanish island of Majorca.
Metaphorically, the storm clouds of last July seemed a long way away, as the riders, staff and assembled media met amid sunny conditions and temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius. Both the men's and women's squads were presented, making for a total of 40 motivated riders decked out in the distinctive magenta of the German team.
New general manager Bob Stapleton was one of the first to speak and he set out a strong message of intent. "I am very proud to be here today," he said. "2006 was a challenging year for the sport but I think we have made tremendous progress. For me, I am very happy to be in Majorca with the team and to show our personal commitment to T-Mobile and their executive board, who are all here today.
"I think it was a very tough year for everyone. What we did is we focussed on what we could do in our own house. We wanted to make sure we could bring in the best people, best methods and really build the team spirit that we feel is fundamental to doing well.
"I believe that success is built from the intense work of a group of focussed individuals and that is what we are encouraging here. This is a very demanding sport, it looks like it is an individual victory when the first person crosses the line but in reality that success depends on a lot of people doing their job very well."
One year ago Jan Ullrich was the star of the team and, following the retirement of Lance Armstrong, hopes were strong that he could finally repeat his Tour win of 1997. However Operación Puerto put paid to all of that and, according to several team sources on Saturday, the scandal went very close to ending the sponsor's multi-million euro backing of the team. What saved the squad was the determination that something good could come out of the problem, namely that T-Mobile would reshuffle, reassess, regroup and lead the new anti-doping fight in the sport.
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For the full Team T-Mobile roster and transfer information, visit our 2007 Cyclingnews' teams database.